Education | Opinion

Blog: Questions about Bureau of Indian Education reform plans

Students at Santa Fe Indian School, a Bureau of Indian Eduction institution in New Mexico. Photo from Facebook

Valerie Strauss of The Washington Post's Answer Sheet blog doesn't think imposing more standardized tests and competitions on the Bureau of Indian Education is a great idea:
Special education isn’t the only area that the Education Department has new standardized testing plans. Duncan announced earlier this month that the department was going to reform the U.S. Bureau of Indian Education.

Nobody would argue that the agency, responsible for the education of tens of thousands of American Indian students, isn’t over-ripe for reform: The agency has had 33 directors in the last 35 years and student outcomes in the education programs and residential facilities for Indian students that it supports are awful. Bureau director Charles Roessel admitted as much at a Senate hearing last month

But will grant competitions and standardized test-based evaluations of teachers actually help? That’s what the administration said it wants to do: Initiate efforts that are very similar to the Race to the Top contest for federal K-12 education funding that required state competitors to promise to make specific Duncan-approved reforms, including linking teacher evaluation to test scores. Does the administration really think that controversial evaluations will entice more teachers to schools that are already facing teacher shortages?

Get the Story:
Valerie Strauss: Obama expands use of standardized tests for special-needs and American Indian students (The Washington Post 6/27)

Related Stories:
Secretary Jewell announces Bureau of Indian Education reform (06/16)

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